I am visiting India with my mother in October, nevertheless, we choose to book a tour because we will be two women travelling alone and I did not want to make my mother uneasy.
We have asked a few local companies for itineraries. Most suggest private tours... are these to be trusted?
How can I know if they are for real? (all the itinerary exchange has been via email)
Are their any tour operators that you can recommend?
I'd recommend that you book from a more trusted source. Expedia has a great selection of activities such as tours & day trips etc.
I don't know what your itinerary looks like (locations, hotels, if you're flights are booked or not, how many days) so I won't go into details, as Robert suggests, why don't you look up reviews on the tour companies you have chosen, maybe on Tripadvisor or Thorntree. I would also suggest that you check with the hotels you're staying at to share names of local tour operators since safety seems to be your main concern.
You could take a look at www.makemytrip.com for packaged tours, hotels and mode of transport. There's no way you can go wrong with them when safety is your concern.
Eunice, I could understand the dilemma but there are few international organizations operating now in India and their services are pretty much trustworthy. I lately asked TUI India to help few of my friends plan their itineraries in the country and they did superbly and most importantly everything was well within budget. I believe you should get in touch with them. Moreover, lemme know if you want me to ask the same executive for your itineraries.
Most of the tour operators are genuine. However to be on the safer side you can ask them to pay half the mony in advance and balance payment on arrival in India. This will save the interest of both parties.
Make sure, the bank details they are providing you for the payment are genuine and it must be of nationalized banks.
Also by the way of corresponding, you might get a hint of the professionalism of the operators. Some times they try to wrap up things quickly. If they can properly address all your questions, then there is another reason to trust them.
last but not the least, if someone providing you very low prices for the same tour, there is something wrong in it. Normally there is a difference of 5-7% prices in the different tour operators.
I will not say that Don't trust the local companies. I would say, whenever you booked your trip any on of the company. Go through their reviews and it helps a lot.
you could check with Le passage to India or Sita Travel kouni.
Both are the big players of inbount tours and most trusted company.
i would recommend you Reliable tours which is in Jaipur ... you can trust on them :)))
Well, it depends upon the kind of Person the Tour guide is...
If you want safety and comfort you can book India tours with Canadian-based G-Adventures or Australian-based Intrepid (and travel with other westerners and make lots of new international Facebook friends afterwards) but they tend to charge much more than "doing it on your own". A good compromise is to book with an Indian-based tour operator http://travelindiawithtej.com/ (I have met and known the owner Tej when he was an Intrepid tour guide.) who caters to western travelers. There are some travel agents in New Delhi particularly in the Main Bazaar district (where many foreign backpackers stay) who can help you plan an itinerary and buy you train, taxi, bus and hotel tickets, but they will double or even triple the face-value price.
I wouldn't recommend a tour operator but would recommend using hotel services for local travel needs instead
Just try to enquire about their earlier activities. It would be really great if you can find some reviews about them before coming here.
If not, then please go for the trusted one's.